Steel City Cowboy

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How the United States is not Germany

It has come to my attention that certain people still make the direct and serious comparison, despite it's prima facie silliness, of President George W. Bush to Adolph Hitler, and of the United States to pre-WWII Germany. I began a response email to one such person, and found that it turned out well, so here it is. Something for the folks who just don't seem to get it...

Post WWI Germany was a grim and embittered place. There was a huge amount of resentment amongst Germans for the power they had lost on the world stage since the debacle of the Great War. Their currency was horribly devalued (I'm sure you remember from your school days the cartoon picture of the German person taking a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread, etc.). They had had their pride completely destroyed as a national movement. Many Germans actively wanted and advocated for an actual dictator, thinking that facism was the only way back to world prominence.

Now, I don't know about you, but it's my viewpoint that even the poorest Americans have large TVs in their houses and expanded basic cable. They're fat, which means they have plenty of food. Stuff is cheap. We are not anywhere close the financial situation of Post-WWI Germany. Anyone who thinks we are is clearly lacking in their grasp of history and of the current standards of living in the United States.

Also, I don't see anyone wanting George Bush to be our dictator. Really. A lot of leftists say that he acts like a dictator, but those accusations are basically silly, as comparing the actions of the administration as a whole to the actions of any dictatorial regime in history will show. In fact, the best argument against that viewpoint is that those critics who say such things haven't been hauled away in leg irons because, well, that's what dictators do to their critics.

Nazi propaganda placed the blame for all of that not on the German people themselves, but on the Jews. It also put forward the notion that Hitler was Germany's last hope against the infiltrations and machinations of the evil Jews.

While the Republican party does contend that most Democrats are soft on national security, that is a far cry from the old Nazi line. Clearly, there are many people on both sides of the political divide who are capable of running our executive branch in a manner that enhances our national security. It is to the Democrats shame that their last Presidential nomination was NOT one of the people. If John Kerry had been even remotely believable about national security, he probably would have won. But his actual unsuitability to the situation does not mean that the other side was claiming that George Bush is our last hope against the invading Muslims. Indicating (correctly) that one person is unsuitable is not the same as saying that you are the sole person who is.

In fact, I'm still waiting for the administration to say that: "George Bush is America's last hope against Muslims." I haven't heard it yet, and as such, the comparison to Hitler will have to wait just that much longer.

In addition to everything else he did, Hitler was a populist. He promised something to basically every group in the country. In contrast, GW does not mind pissing off his opponents. I think that he kind of has "a thing" for it, actually. I know that I do. Now, were GW promising the lefties their socialist utopia, and the righties their isolationist dreamworld at the same time, we'd know he was pandering. Unfortunately for that point of view, GW has delivered on much of what he promised in his campaigns, and it has made him very unpopular with a lot of people, the exact opposite of what Hitler was doing.

Hitler was a brilliant speaker. He could work a crowd like Marshal Mathers. President Bush might be a lot of fun at a cookout, but I've personally seen the guy speak, and he's no Hitler. As an orator, he's only so-so. Probably subpar, if we're being honest. He won't be selling any used cars, so the "power of personal persuasion" thing that Hitler had goes right out the window for GW.

And finally, the stupidest part of the argument that George Bush is somehow like Hitler, and that the U.S. is similar to pre-WWII Germany: Stormtroopers. Oh, we've heard the talking heads refer to certain people or groups as "brownshirts" or "stormtroopers" or the "gestapo", but let's remember for a second what these groups did in Germany. They kidnapped German citizens from their homes, from their jobs and off the street. They kidnapped ("arrested") dissenters, critics, and anyone they thought might disagree with them. They took them to prison. Then they tortured them. Then they killed them. That's it. And it wasn't like this only happened at the end. ("Oh it's coming!" the leftists say.) This was how Hitler and his squad rose to power. When other tactics failed, they silenced their opposition through brutal physical intimidation.

It seems to me that people who makes comparisons like this have lost all sense of magnitude. To them, an official statement that the administration disagrees with an opponent's position is the same as an actual abduction. After all, it's an attempt to "silence dissent."

But what they fail to realize is that degree really does matter. There is a big difference between shooting someone with a water gun and a shotgun. But, as we've seen in the ludicrous "zero tolerance policies" enacted in school districts, leftists can't seem to tell the difference, nor do they even want to. If you gave me the choice, I'd pick being shot with the water gun. But to hear many leftists today, you can almost picture them saying "It might as well be the shotgun. Shooting me with a water gun will crush my will to respond anyway, so what's the difference?" Well, at least I picture them saying that. Then I laugh.

You want to say that the U.S. is like Germany just before the Nazis took hold? Be my guest. Just be sure to back it up with... something. Personally, I think that's a little like fishing not just without bait, but without a rod, reel and boat, too. Good luck with that!


  • At 1/09/2006 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you must be of german descent to believe what you wrote .
    I will bet you have avoided any thing to do with military service .
    I have served twice and have found out that people like you value your life more then mine . I am sure you have a handful of excuses for your not serving . It should say steel city sissy

  • At 1/09/2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Roland said…

    I'm glad to see that you anonymously accepted my challenge to come up with... any... kind... of... argument.

    Oh, wait. You didn't. Bzzzzzt!

    Here are my extrapolations from your silly comment.

    1. To believe that someone's ethnicity determines the way they think indicates to me that you are some sort of racist. Would you have called me of "negro" descent had I written about how the U.S. was not life Africa? That would have been cool.

    2. Didn't "avoid" military service as you put it, but by your definition, there are some 150 million of Americans who have similarly "avoided" military service. For your information, I spent two years (and underwent costly surgery to correct a disqualifying condition) attempting to get into Federal law enforcement (non-military), which would have placed me in harm's way and moved myself and my family all over the country. In the end, they passed on me, so you can't say I didn't try.

    3. Thank you for serving. Seriously, thank you with no strings or but's attached. Please define what a "person like me" is. So, is it your contention that anyone who was not in the military is a "sissy?" You paint with very broad strokes, my brave and wonderful anonymous commenter. Or should I call you an anonymissy?

    Bravo! I am astounded at how people who feel I'm wrong would much rather throw insults than reason. If I were really such a fool, it should be easy to prove me wrong on points. Have at you!

  • At 1/14/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger M. Simon said…

    We do have a gestapo in America. They are the drug warriors. No knock raids in the middle of the night with flash bang grenades.

    Unfortunately the support for this sort of thing is bi-partisan.

    Drug users are America's "Jews".

    Read "Drug Warriors and Their Prey" by R.L. Miller. His previous book was "Nazi Justiz".

    BTW aren't drug users the scape goats for the country's problems? Crime especially? Don't we try to deprive them of jobs? Confiscate their property? etc.

  • At 1/14/2006 1:37 PM, Blogger Roland said…

    That's an interesting point. I do agree that current national drug policy lacks a certain degree of cost-benefit analysis, to put it mildly.

    It isn't identical, though to what the Nazi's were doing, and weakens the comparison considerably. To equate a group of people who use illicit, hard drugs to an ethnic group ignores the major diffence in that the drug users group at one point actually chose to use drugs, despite all of the readily available information that it might not be the best idea. Jews are, for the most part, born Jewish.

    I don't say that to completely blow off your point - there are elements in our government that act in a Gestapo-like fashion, but once again, the difference in degree is, in my opinion quite material.

    Please note that in the post, I specifically mentioned the use of stormtroopers to kidnap and kill political opponents.

  • At 1/15/2006 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was stationed in Germany with the US Army 1969-71. this gives me no real insight, but I did try to imagine their situation after WWII and think it must have been vastly different from post WWI Germany because in the Great War, they weren't totally defeated, i.e,Germany was not occupied but only signed a peace treaty agreeing to give up about 10% of its territory.. WWII was total and complete defeat. They should have felt lucky to survive at all and have some part of their country left.
    In The Great War they defeated Russia, had France and Britain on the verge of collapse and were defeated only at the last moment by the US. The American Army entered the battle in June of 1918 and by November had defeated Germany with the help of what was left of the British and French. In April 1918 the Germans launched the "Friedensturm" or "Peace Offensive", the blow to end the War, and were confident, with good reason, it would break the British and French. British troops were surrendering Battallions at a time and the French were deserting in such numbers that it was hard to get to the front in the French sectors because of all the deserters streaming back. It was a shock to the Germans to lose a War they had all but won. Actually it was the extraordinary quality of the American forces that defeated them, but they, and the British and French would not admit it. The British and French claimed the victory, giving some small, grudging credit to our troops, and the Germans couldn't face what had happened, favoring the "stab in the back from the Jews" theory.
    We didn't dispute the British and French line too much because we wanted to go home and leave them to handle the situation. This worked nearly as well as leaving Afghanistan after helping to evict the Soviet Union, only to have to come back about 20 years later.

  • At 1/15/2006 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bush is obviously not
    Hitler, there are still Democrats.
    The US today is, if anything, paralized with an excess of
    Brownshirts came and got you,
    killed you.
    If a cop arrests you in the US
    today you stand a shot at getting rich.

  • At 1/20/2006 12:11 PM, Blogger Roland said…

    Just removed a comment posted by this fine fellow that addressed absolutely nothing about this particular post. Insults are fine, if they're clever and relevant to the topic at hand, but this was neither.

    Remember folks, if you're going to poop while you're at someone else's house, remember to ask first. But if you're just going to plop it in, say, the formal dining room, thinking that no one will find it for a couple of days, make sure you sculpt it to look like George Lucas or something interesting so your hosts will at least have a good story to tell some day.

  • At 1/23/2006 9:14 PM, Blogger djhlights said…

    I've responded to your comments here.


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